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Old 12-05-2019, 18:36   #1
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A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Last weekend, we were returning from a great windy weekend in the San Juan Isles,crossing Rosario straight in our Catalina 310. Kiddo having his nap in the forward berth, Christina took her shift at the helm through the pass, then napping in the sun in the cockpit. Winds picked up to 20kts sustained, wind waves 2-3 ft. We were on a broad reach, but sails reefed - main at first reef, 140% jib at 90%. We were rounding the southern end of Lummi island, 2000 meters from making a wide , safe turn, when the winds kicked up to 24kt, and suddenly gusted to 30.

With no crew awake, I turned against the pressure, but the stern rose with a big wave, and then the rudder was flapping like a Sounders soccer pendant (I.e., flapping vainly). We broached and heeled on our side, and Christina dumped onto the cockpit sole. I rounded up and we pulled in the jib, lashed down the main, turned on the motor, and pulled around the point into 15 kt winds and light chop.

Though it all the babe rolled from his left side to his right, and kept on snoring!

Iíve been thinking about lesson we can keep on our (fairly) new to us boat.
First, PO had removed the lines for second reef. I felt the boat shiver in a few gusts before the broach, and would have reefed down further if the line was in. Iím putting reef 2 back in now.
Second: I am generally a very conservative sailor when the kiddies are aboard. But this time, everyone was sleeping so peacefully, I really just wanted to make the last few minutes around the corner to calm water....nope. Lesson learned.
Third: can a Catalina really broach on a 3 ft wave? Or was the 90% jib really pressing her on her forefoot enough to lose grip with such a deep spade rudder?

Happy to hear some thoughts. At no time were we in actual danger from shore, swell, tide, or wind, but we had a bit of fun and excitement we hadnít planned!
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Old 12-05-2019, 18:56   #2
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Well the rudder is more than 3’ in length so something isn’t right.

I’ve run a c30tr in 30 knots and 10’ seas with 150% Genoa and full main and didn’t broach. But she sure was threatening to. And I broke my knee reefing the main. Ymmv.
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Old 12-05-2019, 19:01   #3
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

JDWS,

Every broach is one to remember, and hopefully to learn from.

I don't have much to say about a C310, but I have a lot of experience on C320s in famously windy San Francisco bay. I can say that those boats really, really don't like a big mainsail in strong winds. Especially downwind, they would get very squirrelly in winds of >20 knots even single reefed. They were much better behaved double reefed, or even sailed jib only.
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Old 12-05-2019, 19:01   #4
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Over correcting the rudder to hard over can cause it to stall, loosing all its bite. Hard over it is no longer has a clean flow.
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Old 13-05-2019, 07:11   #5
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

I was not there so hard to say exactly what happened.
It's always the main sail that turns the boat to a broach.
The main makes the boat want to luff and the jib will make the boat want to bear away.
This said you need to remember that when sailing downwind the apparent wind may seem less then the true wind. The boat is moving almost in the same direction has the wind
Once the luffing starts, the apparent wind quickly goes up and you are then overpowered.
The more the boat comes to beam wind the worts the healing is. At the point releasing the main sheet will help slow things down.

Releasing some tension on the boom vang will depower your main sail.
But a second reef is the best option.
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Old 13-05-2019, 10:40   #6
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

You were knocked over by a gust, not by steady 30kts. Not much you can do to anticipate gusts except always sail with a reefed main (not acceptable.) As someone mentioned, keep the wind aft of the beam if possible. Broaching is no fun but most people survive with just spilled drinks.
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Old 13-05-2019, 10:47   #7
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

You mentioned that your were rounding an island. I am certainly aware in my local conditions of places where the wind is likely to rapidly change. Closest to my harbor, I could probably draw a map. Depending on the wind direction, if you were coming out of the wind shadow of the island, it is a sign to be extra ready for sudden gusts. Not rocket science, but something to keep in mind.
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Old 13-05-2019, 11:04   #8
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

I have the same thing happen right there at the south end of Lummi. For me it continued all the way to Bellingham. My first big waves....will not forget it.
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Old 13-05-2019, 12:06   #9
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

As a newbie to sailing, I wonder if the wind was being "compressed" around the island, and waves too.
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Old 13-05-2019, 12:08   #10
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

In most boats a full broach with sustained rudder stall will only happen when flying a spinnaker. As boat broaches and rudder stalls, it heads up onto a beam reach and at that point jib and mainsail, if properly trimmed out for the broad reach before the broach, would be depowered and partially luffing, Thus the boat sans spinnaker should get back on its feet on a beam reach very quickly. Easing the jib sheet will help even more.
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Old 13-05-2019, 13:20   #11
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

A wave or swell moving under the stern in the same direction as the boat will have a component of its velocity is in the general direction as the boat is heading. This forward flow of the swell under the stern will cancel out a portion of the of the flow of water past the rudder, i.e. boat speed 7k, swell coming from astern will cancel some or all (fully stalled)of the rudder effectiveness. .

Now throw in a little heel and the rudder is no longer vertical so you honk on it more to counteract the beginning of a round-up but the rudder, since its at an angle, if it has any effectiveness left, becomes like the elevator surface on an airplane. The more you pull the more you force the stern higher and further out of the water cancelling even more of the rudder's effectiveness. Well before this the sheets should have been eased.
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Old 13-05-2019, 13:49   #12
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Another key to avoiding a broach (in the case of multihulls, a capsize) is to bear off early enough. NOT when the boat is leaning way over, but head down when it first becomes apparent there is a gust coming (before full force). You have to get the nose down BEFORE the gust hits, not after. With a multi, you would be bottoms-up by then.


Another factor that catches people by surprise is the effect of the bow digging in as you turn. The bow acts like a rudder forward, causing a turn to windward and overpowering the rudder. In confused seas, this can even catch experienced helmsman, if they fail to anticipate hitting the back of a wave (a high speed boat problem).



As others have said, once the dynamics have begun (excessive heal in the case of a mono, bow dug in in the case of a multi) and the rudder begins to stall, you lose more than 50% of your lift, and even more with lean. Instant release of ALL sheets is probably the only useful action. You have to ease up on the rudder until you have flow again. it isn't what you want to do, but you must.


It's all about anticipation and getting the head down early. Also, reefing the main MORE than the jib really helps with balance off the wind.


If you are sailing with more sail up that you can carry to weather, you need to think like a dinghy sailor. Balance and anticipation.
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Old 13-05-2019, 14:02   #13
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Makes me wonder if helmsperson was locked in along with daughter. When you decide to reef, it maybe too late. The "captain" was sleeping???
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Old 13-05-2019, 14:05   #14
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
A wave or swell moving under the stern in the same direction as the boat will have a component of its velocity is in the general direction as the boat is heading. This forward flow of the swell under the stern will cancel out a portion of the of the flow of water past the rudder, i.e. boat speed 7k, swell coming from astern will cancel some or all (fully stalled)of the rudder effectiveness. ..

This would be true if the water in waves moved horizontally, with the waves. However, it's not true, because the water in waves moves up and down. There is little or no "forward flow of the swell". Rudders work fine in waves, provided boat has way on.
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Old 13-05-2019, 17:06   #15
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Re: A broach to remember; family fun in spring wind

Also happened to me. Afterwards, wanting to understand what happened, I found this video helpful.

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